Ms. Pat Harper  

The Monument Valley Health Office/School Nurse is here to support both the health and education of students.  The goal is to foster the growth, development and educational achievement of all students through promotion of health and wellness by: providing first aid, emergency treatment, intervention and referral for physical, psychological, social‐emotional and behavioral issues;  administering direct care for special medical needs; monitoring health status and administering screening programs to identify health concerns; building partnerships to ensure referral to quality services that are effective, culturally appropriate and responsive to the diverse and changing needs of our students and their families.

Each year in grades 5-8 a range of issues may affect the health of your child: increased pressures on families, ongoing public health concerns such as infectious diseases, bullying, head injuries and emotional health concerns.  An emphasis is put on listening to concerns a student has and then guiding students to adopt healthy life style choices; these everyday healthy behavior choices affect how they feel in the moment as well as impact their future well-being.

In addition to the daily care provided to students with special needs and routine interventions for first aid, illness and physical and emotional concerns, the school nurse perform vision, hearing, height and weight and postural screening for scoliosis.

Please see important fact sheets below, and contact Mrs. Harper with any questions.

Phone/Fax – (413)644-2324/644-2394

You cannot educate an unhealthy child and you cannot keep an uneducated child healthy…”
Dr. Jocelyn Elders, Former Secretary of Health

Contact Information: Patricia Harper RN, School Nurse

Monument Valley Regional Middle School

313 Monument Valley Road

Great Barrington, MA 01230


If your child needs medications while at school, please follow this link and print the form:

BHRSD Medication Order and Consent Form






Seasonal Flu Information

According to the CDC and the MA Department of Public Health, the most important way to protect against flu viruses is to get the vaccination every year.

How Flu Spreads:

People with the flu virus can spread it to others from a distance up to 6 feet away. The virus travels in droplets made when we cough, sneeze and talk. These droplets find their way into the mouths and noses of others nearby, or can be breathed directly into the lungs. Also (but less common) the virus can be on a surface like a doorknob that is touched, and the virus then travels from hands to noses and mouths.

It is so important to wash hands with soap/water, and to make sure that if you are ill with a flu virus that you stay home and away from others. The flu is contagious – You may transmit the virus to others before you even feel sick yourself – from 1 day before illness symptoms begin up to 7 days after actually feeling sick. Children can pass along viruses even longer.

The best way to prevent getting the Flu is to get the annual Flu vaccine.

Best resource for flu information and to monitor how prevalent flu activity is :


When to Keep Your Child Home from School

Your child should not attend school if:

  • The child has a temperature of over 100 degrees by mouth.
  • The child has conjunctivitis, which is an eye infection commonly referred to as Pink Eye. The eye is generally red with some burning and there may be thick yellow drainage.
  • The child has bronchitis and/or croup, which may occur together, but more often separately. Bronchitis or croup can begin with hoarseness, cough, and a slight elevation in temperature. The cough may be dry and painful, but it may gradually become productive. In croup, there is a loud noise as the child breathes in and there may be increased difficulty in breathing. Older children or adolescents should stay home if they have a persistent deep cough that has not been evaluated and treated by a physician.
  • The child has a rash that has not been diagnosed by a physician. We urge you to have rashes diagnosed. If a rash is diagnosed as a result of an infection, the physician must assure us in writing that the rash is no longer contagious before your child can return to school.
  • The child has an infection of the skin, which shows up as red pimples, small vesicles surrounded by a reddened area, raw, crusted or weeping lesions, warm red or painful lesions, or any skin sores accompanied by fever. When your child may return to school is dependent on the type of infection that is present and the medication your physician has prescribed.
  • The child has diarrhea (watery or greenish bowel movements, which look different and are much more frequent than usual). A child should not return to school until three days have lapsed since the onset of diarrhea, or until the child’s physician provides documentation that the child’s condition is not communicable.
  • The child has been vomiting within the past 24 hours (more than the usual spitting up as in the case of an infant).
  • The child has a significant cold with sneezing and nose drainage.
  • The child seems really sick without obvious symptoms. In this case, a child may look and act different. There may be unusual paleness, irritability, unusual tiredness, or lack of interest.
  • The child has a contagious disease. If a doctor places a child on antibiotics, the child should not return to school until they have had medication for at least 24 hours or until they are no longer contagious (per documentation of physician or according to policy of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health).



Head Lice Information

From the Monument Valley Health Office              Head Lice Information for Parents      


     At the beginning of school each year school nurses are often questioned when there is a case of head lice found at home or at school. Parents want to know how to rid their child of lice as quickly as possible, and want to make sure they won’t “get it again.”  It would be so wonderful if it were as simple as giving parents a correct answer explaining what shampoo to use, but it is just not that easy…

    Head lice live on the heads of school children in all climates, cultures and living conditions. The lice are passed from one person to another during direct head-to-head contact. Children whispering secrets at school or family members hugging at home provide head lice with the ideal opportunity to travel from one head to the next. Indirect spread through contact with personal belongings such as combs, brushes, or hats is much less likely. Head lice are not a sign of poor hygiene or dirty living conditions. They are not an illness or the cause of any serious illness. They are an itchy nuisance infestation of bugs and their eggs (nits) and require a treatment program that can be tedious, time consuming and annoying.

What to Look For:     The LICE (live bugs) live in human hair (only humans-not pets) and feed on the blood from the scalp. The bugs are light brown/grayish in color, and are the size of a single sesame seed. They cannot fly or jump; they can only crawl. They spread from head to head primarily by direct contact. Rarely do they spread in any other way, since bugs that leave the head or fall off are sick and/or injured and so will not survive more than 48 hours at most. 

Lice lay their eggs at the base of the hair in sacs called NITS that are attached to the hair shaft. As the hair grows away from the scalp, the nit grows along with it. The nits are tiny, whitish-gray oval eggs. Since they hatch in 7 to 10 days, nits that are further away from the scalp are likely to have already hatched.

What Parents can do to eliminate and prevent head lice:       Perform head checks on your child if they are scratching their scalp, or if you suspect exposure. Look for lice/nits carefully in good light, and look over the entire hair/head area (lice/nits can be difficult to spot, especially in the early stages of infestation).  Pediculicides are special insecticide products registered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat lice. Most over-the-counter (OTC) pediculicides contain pyrethrins (extracts of chrysanthemum flowers) or a synthetic equivalent. Used as directed on the package, these products can be effective at killing lice. A repeat treatment, about 7-10 days after the first, is almost always needed. Some lice, however, are resistant to OTC products. If live lice are seen the day after the second treatment, parents should call a pediatrician to discuss other kinds of pediculicides available only by prescription.

     When used according to their directions, pediculicides offer very little risk to children or adults. The main risks from pediculicides (and from virtually any medicine) come from gross overuse of the product, so read the labels carefully and follow the directions. If in doubt, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Avoid treatments that are not FDA-registered pediculicides. Alternative products are an option, but may tend to be sold on the basis of testimonials rather than objective testing of their effectiveness and safety.

Nits should be carefully and thoroughly removed from the hair using a fine-tooth lice/nit comb. Nits are glued to the scalp and hair shaft. Unlike dandruff, they will not fall away when you flick the hair, which is one way to distinguish nits from dandruff. 

  • Items that touch the child’s hair (combs, headbands, hats, linens) should be laundered or placed in a hot dryer cycle. Carpeting, car seats, and upholstery should be vacuumed to pick up hair that may have nits attached. Do not use lice sprays.
  • Continue daily head checks for nits and lice for 2 weeks, and then on a regular basis at home. Routine head checks are especially encouraged after sleepovers, campouts, and close contact get-togethers. Have your child bring their own pillow, blanket to any sleep-away events.
  • Other household members and close contacts should be checked for lice, but not treated “just in case” – only if lice or nits are found.

For School:      Please report any case of head lice you may find so we can work together to minimize any spread. If your child has been treated for head lice, he/she should be seen in the health office here at school to have their head rechecked; a plan for further removal of lice and nits can be made as needed. If a case is found at school by the school nurse, confidentiality is maintained, the parent is notified, and offered up to date treatment information on management. The child may return to school the next day after treatment. Current research does not support head checks of classrooms, but close contacts and siblings should be checked.

For More Information

American Academy of Pediatrics,

The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools,

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

Harvard School of Public Health,

National Association of School Nurses,

Also – Patricia Harper, RN     School Nurse Monument Valley Regional Middle School             644-2324